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Anna Davies, Head of Marketing and Communications, at Thomas Frank

What are some of the recent changes in the food marketing and communications space?
What are some of the recent changes in the food marketing and communications space?
During the pandemic, there were a lot of shifts in the food marketing and communications space. Marketing agencies were finding innovative ways to market the products. Effective strategies included humanizing content and taking a responsibility-first approach. We focused on our values, i.e. charity work. During the pandemic, we set up FeedingCommunities, an initiative that focused on providing to anyone and everyone.
From a business standpoint, another shift in the domain was talent shortage. The inability to train job seekers surged the talent shortage. With our marketing legacy growing, we are focusing much more on our talent. For instance, our managing director has been with Thomas Frank for 14 years. He started in the hospitality domain as a chef and catering manager, and went up the ranks. We have a chance to really hone in on our people, talent, and the shortage of hospitality staff or people that want to work in hospitality.
With digitization gaining prominence recently, what are some of the technologies you have implemented in line with marketing and communication?
Yammer, a networking tool in Microsoft Teams, helps us in day-to-day communication. It is an internal internet system where people can post updates and see what’s happening in the company. It’s really important and feasible to communicate through it because we work across the UK, Malta, and Portugal.
Another great technology that we’ve further emphasized and used is social media. It brings all of our chefs, and all of our people, to one central place. They can see what’s happening and what other chefs in our different locations are doing to pull off innovative ideas.  
We do weekly catch up or monthly catch up with people over teams, or any form of communication. We haven’t brought anything new yet but just built on what we had.
What are the current trends in the travel and hospitality space?
A big trend that we are campaigning in connection with our company has zero food waste. At the moment it is really easy to throw a cauliflower or broccoli stalk away in the food waste. We are working with a well-known chef on food waste called Vojtech Vegh, to tackle this challenge. He works with our culinary teams and directs ways to include that food waste in day-to-day dishes. We support this trend because we’re in an energy crisis wherein food inflation has increased by 14 percent, and we need to make the most of the products we’re getting.
What are some of the challenges that you’ve seen, and how are you tackling them?
Social media is a positive technology aspect, but it can be quite challenging. New things are evolving around social media, like tick-tock, reels, influencers, and many more. Our competitors and other people in the industry use TikTok and Instagram reels much more than us to get their names and brand out in the industry.
However, it’s a challenge to keep up with those different social media trends, so we focus on analytics to find the right algorithm.  Our analytics helps us keep track of the latest trends and create content accordingly. Our analytics found that people don’t really read long texts or watch long videos; what they need is engaging imagery with fewer words and strong messaging. We also found that making 20 to 30-second videos on the important things we try to cover works much better.
The way we have coped with this challenge is we have hired an in-house videographer and content creator that only focuses on creating content for our social media channels as well as our client’s social media handles. We keep the content, engaging, and fresh, and we present it in a way the people actually want to see or read.
What advice would you give to better utilize these social media channels?
Understand the media channels; it is not always necessary to follow the crowd. Take the time, take a couple of hours, and take a half day actually to research, and understand how it would benefit the company that you’re working for. 
For instance, TikTok doesn’t really benefit Thomas Frank, because we’re not selling individual meals or something like that; we sell our food to a business. It is really important to know what you’re getting yourself into in terms of social media challenges and make sure that you don’t come up against those challenges, which can escalate and may harm the business.
What advice would you like to share with your peers who are starting in the industry, as well as in the marketing space?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; mistakes happen. What is important, is to learn from those mistakes that we make. Also don’t be afraid to speak your mind and trust your gut as well, because quite a lot of the time, the most brilliant ideas or campaigns come from those, different ideas and trusting yourself.
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